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Tampering With Food, Drugs And Cosmetics

When contemplating criminal law, the public generally focuses on violent crime. However, recent amendments to New Jersey statutes criminalize tampering with pharmaceutical products, prescribed medications, cosmetics and food products. Tampering is not limited to adding poisonous substances, but also diluting these products without a prescription. If a cosmetician, pharmacist, physician, nurse or dietician tampers with food, pharmaceuticals or cosmetics knowing that he or she is changing the strength of the product, it is a crime of the second degree. A conviction requires a prison term of between five and ten years. Health care, food service and beauty professionals may need the advice of a criminal defense attorney working in conjunction with a forensic chemist or forensic pharmacologist to protect them from the consequences of a charge of tampering. After the criminal matter is resolved, a criminal defense attorney may be retained to represent his client before licensing and regulatory boards in order to protect the client's license to practice.

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